There is something inherently spooky about the residence of the Governor-General in Wellington, on a hill above the capital, a monument to pomp and ritual.

There is something inherently spooky about the residence of the Governor-General in Wellington, on a hill above the capital, a monument to pomp and ritual. 2

Here, where paintings of monarchs stare from the walls and candles burn in crystal chandeliers, you almost expect to hear a cold whisper in your ear, a shivery hiss from ghosts in the halls.

Nevertheless you would not expect to find our Queen’s representative, Dame Silvia Cartwright, tip-toeing down the long, windy road from the mansion one night, her neatly coiffed silver hair gleaming in the moonlight, as she sneaks off to scare the old policeman guarding the gate.

Dressed as Lucas, the ghost of a housemaid’s spurned lover rumoured to haunt the house, she planned to moan “whooooo” through the windows at the old guard, famously frightened of the dark. Oh, what a thrill.

But such a caper never happened, no matter how much the Governor-General wanted it to. “Someone said, ‘What if he has a heart attack?’, because, you know, some of them aren’t that young. So, I thought, ‘Perhaps I’d better not’.”

At this, Dame Silvia lets go a sinful smile but a giggle never quite escapes her lips as she assembles herself on a floral couch in the Green Sitting Room of Government House.

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